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Michael Page Finance 2015: the year so far

The first quarter of this year showed a growing qualified accountancy recruitment market. It is growing across nearly every region, sector, every size of organisation and at most salary levels.  Last year, growth was predominantly seen in London and was underpinned by massive growth in the professional services market. Recent growth has created a well balanced market that is not dependent on any concentration of work.  For candidates this provides excellent choice, but for clients it means they continue to have to fight for the best talent and to demonstrate the value of working with them. 

Regional analysis

While London growth is still good, it has slowed down from last year. The North West, South West, South East and Northern Home Counties on the other hand have seen accelerated growth.  The Thames Valley is being hit by a candidate shortage with London salaries just a train ride away.
The growth of the SME market has fuelled the overall market growth.  The candidate shortage has had a lesser affect on this section of the market. SMEs are able to be more flexible with their requirements and often win the best talent in the market by offering the ability to make a tangible impact.

Placements per region


Sector analysis


Professional services is still the largest sector in the market, but the feeding frenzy of last year has been replaced by steady growth.  The main growth areas are industrial, financial services, retail, not for profit and public sector.  The growth we’ve witnessed in the public sector was fuelled by an increase in NHS work plus our business development efforts within local government paying off.  

Placements per sector

Salary level analysis

The senior recruitment market remains quiet with most investment still focused below £80k level and above £100k is down from last quarter.  The senior market outside of London has in fact improved in most areas. The highly competitive London senior market has remained quiet. Liquidity of candidates at that level is good so many are hiring through personal networks.  If the economy keeps improving, we predict that this will change as companies keep growing, M&A increases and some organisations do not achieve the growth of their competitors.  In fact, we’ve already seen a surge in the second quarter of 2015.
There is growth at every other level in the qualified market, showing strong economic conditions and a very balanced market. This is also due to the market no longer being dependent upon a few key areas.

Placements per salary level


Client analysis

Once again there is growth across the whole market.  Growth within multinationals is very much centred around professional services and the largest growth is within sub £50m firms.  There is a plethora of exciting fast growth organisations fuelling much of the market growth and often winning the ‘war for talent’.  However, there are opportunities right across the market and multinationals have the offer of international work which remains attractive.

Placements per company size



Pre-election uncertainty caused a slight slowdown in recruitment but the economy remains strong and UK employment is up by 200k compared to the previous quarter. Our post-election predictions are that the market will continue to be candidate short, so a reduction in the number of jobs could still provide good growth. Diversification across regions, sectors, clients and salary levels will counter balance any market jitters that arise with the implementation of a new government.  
We feel that the continuing strength of the SME market will ensure a strong market and the candidate shortage will mean there is always a significant need for the best candidates.
To discuss your future finance recruitment needs, get in touch with your local Michael Page Finance team.